Navigation is probably one of the single most important aspects of your blog or website. When done right, your menu links can help increase conversions and provide for a more enjoyable browsing experience. The latest Blog Beautician video is all about navigation. Are you doing it wrong?
Do you know why navigation is important? How about the order of your links… have you thought about that? Are you using drop down menus to your advantage, or are they distracting visitors from clicking on your more important links?
Less is More
Overwhelming your visitors with dozens of menu items will not work to your advantage. Your valuable links — or the ones that can lead to conversions/sales — can easily get lost and have a negative effect on performance. Choose only a handful of your most important links, and rethink the rest.
Having no navigation or menu at all does the complete opposite. Visitors cannot properly browse around your site or find what they might be looking for. You’ll be missing a very important piece of search engine juice because the engines cannot crawl through your site properly and effectively.
Describing your menu items properly is also important. Don’t try to get fancy with the titles of your links… call them like they are. Your contact page link should simply read “Contact” instead of “Get In Touch”. “Contact” is more commonly found on websites and will be what a visitor (and search engine) is looking for.
Drop Down Dilemmas
Depending on how your drop down menu is programmed, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Sometimes search engines have a harder time crawling through menu items. You may also be adding unnecessary work for your visitors which could turn their positive experience into a negative one. Hovering over a menu item and searching for the topic or page they are looking for takes more effort than to just display the link front and center.
Image Maps and Image Links
The conversation of using image maps is always a bit controversial. Some will tell you they should be used for menus, some will disagree. I am one that disagrees. I wrote a whole post about why you shouldn’t use image maps over on I Can Build A Blog. Using image links can offer a similar outcome with less work and more browser compatibility, however any time you use an image as a link in your navigation, you should also include that same link in text form somewhere on your site, like in the footer. This is because search engines do not crawl through image links, only text. So by providing text links, you are helping them get to where they need to go.
I will talk about all of this stuff in the video and hopefully inspire you to think about your own menu bars.
After watching that, how do you think you can improve your navigation?